“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” –Chinese Proverb.
A few days ago, a fellow blogger over at One Family One Income reminded me of this old Chinese Proverb, and it got to me thinking. She didn’t refer to directly to this Proverb but was questioning why the previous owners of her house had never planted a single tree or shrub. She and her husband were now looking at various options of what to plant. They also wanted to give their landscape a jump start by planting larger trees. Additionally, they have been taking other necessary measures to spruce up other areas of their yard by cleaning up junk left behind and now thatching and reseeding. When it comes to many things in life, including our finances, the very same concept can apply. That is what I love about this old saying.
While we can’t do anything to change the past, we can indeed change our financial future by focusing on the second best time, which is now!
At 50+ years of age, it would be easy to feel as though it is simply too late. Fast forward 20 years from now and I am sure I would be wishing we had started cleaning up our finances 20 years earlier! In other words, the very concept of it ever being too late to make a change is a self-imposed boundary! Just because we didn’t do something 20 years ago, doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it now.
For many of us starting this journey later than most, we very likely may also need to do some sprucing up and take on the same jump start mentality. Similarly to changing the landscape of a yard, changing a financial landscape also involves some planning.
I’ve written about some of the financial prep work we first needed to do. We are now working towards cleaning up our financial messes…and we have a lot to clean up! Our retirement does already have some seeds planted via our 401k, but we still need a lot more. Once our debt is paid off, we will work on increasing all of our retirement options. As for the jump start mentality, I view that as pushing harder to reach our goals. Certainly not fun at an age where you’d rather be enjoying the shade of trees that you should have started growing 20 years ago. But, very necessary steps if you ever want to experience any amount of shade in the future!
When did you first decide to take control over your finances? If you haven’t yet started, don’t keep waiting! The Proverb is correct. The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, but that should not stop anyone from planting one now.
No matter what your age, it is never too late! Go out and do the prep work, clean up any messes and get busy planting! I’m right there in the dirt with you!